Should You Even Bother with New Year’s Resolutions This Year? – Harvard Business Review

Should You Even Bother with New Year’s Resolutions This Year? – Harvard Business Review

Even in the best of times, you may feel some ambivalence about making new year’s resolutions. On the one hand, it’s a fresh start where you’re unboxing 12 new months of opportunity. On the other hand, your past experience may have told you that it’s unlikely you’ll stick with doing anything dramatically different than before. And by February, you may have completely discarded — or even forgotten about — the resolutions that you felt so excited about at the start of the year.

After having weathered two years of never-before-seen global uncertainty, the ambivalence may have slid into helplessness. Why even attempt to set resolutions when I have no idea what will transpire in the coming months?

I hear you. And as a time management coach who has helped clients around the world navigate all the ups and downs of 2020 and 2021, I understand how there’s been a vast array of unforeseen challenges in making and keeping resolutions.

However, I’ve also seen that even in the midst of uncertainty that you really can move forward on what’s important to you. And in fact, making a resolution and keeping it could greatly boost your sense of self efficacy, i.e. your belief in your ability to take action that benefits yourself and your situation.

So before you give up on making resolutions, consider these tips on how to make resolutions that will actually stick. And allow your commitment to yourself and your goals create positive momentum in January and beyond.

Assess your willingness.

The first, and in my opinion most important step in the resolution process is to decide whether you actually want to make different choices in a certain area. If you really don’t want to spend less time on social media, don’t make that a resolution.

Chose resolutions that really matter to you and where you have a strong “why.” For example, maybe you really do want to lose weight because you want to have more energy or you want to keep up with your kids or you want to look fantastic for a wedding. Having a compelling reason can give you the tenacity to stick with your resolutions when you feel tired, unmotivated, and just want to take the easy way out.

Pick just one or two.

In general, resolutions are nice-to-have-in-the-short-term items. You won’t typically experience immediate consequences from not keeping them, but in the long term, your life will be better off for having quit smoking or reducing spending.

Because there aren’t usually instant negative effects, you’ll tend to look at these goals as “extras.” And since most of us don’t have much time or energy for a lot of extras, you’ll increase your likelihood of success by picking just one or two resolutions. In the paper, Goals Gone Wild: The Systematic Side Effects of Over-Prescribing Goal Setting, the authors share research that even when you have multiple goals, you’re most likely to only focus on one. So why not just choose one from the start?

It’s easier to remember and implement when you focus on one resolution …….


Time management